Thursday, November 29, 2007

Did Baroness Jay Warn Labour About Abrahams?

Baroness Jay has so far failed to answer a key question in the donor scandale, although it is very possible that she hasn't been asked it yet. When she found out that David Abrahams was making donations through 'agents' and that this wasn't permissible, why didn't she immediately contact the Labour Party's Treasurers team to tell them? Wouldn't thatr have been anyone's natural response. What hasn't emerged in any reports yet is that Margaret Jay was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life and would be well versed on issues like this.

Of course, there is the possibility that she did indeed alert them back in June but no one did anything about it. Which is it?

There is also an inconsistency in David Abrahams' account of how he gave the cheque to Hilary Benn. In one interview he said he gave it to him personally and in another he said he forwarded it to his campaign. Which is it? Mr Abrahams is becoming a very unreliable witness.

18 comments:

Roger Thornhill said...

"gave personally" could just mean it was in his own name, surely?

jailhouselawyer said...

Did you know that David Abrahams aka David Martin took out a loan from Allied Irish Bank and managed to get away with saddling his business partner with the liability of having to repay the loan?

Link

Vienna Woods said...

Yes, I noticed that Iain and I couldn't understand why nobody had questioned it. In the transcript of the telephone call-in to Paxman, Abrahams certainly said that he had handed the cheque to Benn personally and that Benn had thanked him for it!

Secondly, Mendelsohn must have written his letter to Abrahams on Saturday morning after the "Mail on Sunday" had contacted him. That is probably why it was handwritten (no secretaries available on Saturdays!). Trying to brush over the traces, I would think. No wonder the crafty bugger can't be found!

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, what Jay has said is that she asked Abrahams for a donation. He said yes but asked if he could make it through a third party. She said no.

If that is so, there is no reason that she would necessarily have known anything about any third party donations already made.

Shouldn't you be monitoring all the news sources, what with you being so keen on the libel laws?

kinglear said...

That's because he is a deeply unreliable person. There are stories today in the Herald of a simlar set up in Scotland for Wendy ( that's Douglas's sister) Alexander, so it is entirely endemic and has been known about by ALL the Labour front bench. As you say, it was too convenient not to mention - sorry that should have read it was deemed too LEGAL to mention. Yeah right

Tony said...

Some people might argue the reliability issue could be a deliberate attempt to sow confusion and thus protect the party he supports from being damaged by its actions. Some might believe Abrahams feels largely responsible for Labour's current discomfort by getting them to break the law in order to deal on his terms.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:41

The BBC are, in relation to the original donation that was rejected, are saying...

What his spokesman said: "We did not accept it because we felt that if Mr Abrahams wanted to make a donation he should do so in his own name. We returned the cheque."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7116787.stm

mitch said...

Not quite. Abrahams initially donated through an agent, presumeably to the campaign. Having considered it, the Benn camp returned it and Abrahamas gave a personal cheque, presumeably to Benn personally.

It does make sense.

Anonymous said...

According to the BBC:
And on Wednesday it emerged that the party's chief fundraiser, Jon Mendelsohn, was told about the disguised donations last month, shortly after his appointment.

So the question is who told him? And when that question is answered, who else did (s)he tell? In the absence of some astonishing evidence to the contrary, the whole arrangement appears to have been common knowledge in the Labour party...

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Abrahams is an odd fish. When Paxman asked him why he had given money to both deputy leadership campaigners all he would say was, 'I supported Hilary Benn.' He declined to say anything more.

These are deep waters, Watson.

Oscar Miller said...

Just saw a clip on the DP of Theresa May asking Harriet Harman questions about the dodgy donation. As Andrew Neil said - he didn't know which was worse Harriet Harman's reply (you can huff and you can puff but you WON'T blow my job away - she lisped) or Theresa May's jacket. Where did she get that jacket - off the back of a lorry? Apart from that Theresa did well. But she really does need some serious advice about what not to wear.

mitch said...

trumpeter - we think the scenario is this:

Abrahams supported Benn for DL and donated to his campaign before the election.

Once HH had won she needed cash to pay her campaign debts. Somehow (this is unclear) Abrahams was pursuaded or offered to donate to her. He wasn't supporting HH for DL, merely helping her out afterwards. We think.

Lilith said...

Just how many bank accounts do Labour have to receive donations into? Why did Jack Dromey, Treasurer, not know or have access to information about donations? Who did? Why are these bank accounts secret from the people in charge of them?

Greg Hands MP said...

Or, for that matter, why didn't Hilary Benn himself raise the alarm? He was a member of the Cabinet, a senior member of the Labour Party, indeed a candidate for its Deputy Leadership, and was told that here was an offer of an illegal donation that he was advised to refuse as it came from someone who was in the habit of making illegal donations to the Labour Party. It seems he just said no and shrugged his shoulders.

Vienna Woods said...

The Evening Standard this evening is apparently carrying a story that Mendelsohn had suggested to other politicians 7 moths ago, that he could arrange donations through third parties without risk. They have at least two people who were approached by him. If this is true then it's a whole new ball game!

Gordon Brown is a Tory asset said...

...why didn't Hilary Benn himself raise the alarm?

Perhaps because he figured he had avoided the elephant trap himself but might as well leave it in place for morons like Harman to blunder into.

Anonymous said...

c j bjerkins might be right

Anonymous said...

last comment ins should be nes